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The Dragon King's Palace (Sano Ichiro #8)

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  978 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
On a whim of the shogun's mother, a procession has left the sweltering heat of Edo, bound for the cooler climate of Mount Fuji. Among her traveling companions are Reiko, the beautiful wife of Sano Ichiro, the shogun's Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations, and People; Reiko's friend Midori, nine months pregnant; and Lady Yanagisawa, the deranged wife of the sho ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 19th 2004 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,747)
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I'm sorry, not good. Nothing exciting happened. Everyone, and I mean every. single. person is just too stupid to live, not to say anachronistic. There was no single detail that made me forget the cardboard. The last scene which had the shogun and his entire court at the naming ceremony of a baby girl of a mere police officer... oh hush hush. I love this series in all its badness, so I'll buy whatever comes out... but seriously, it burns. (Also I detest crazy cults like Black Lotus. Easy-peasy pl ...more
Apr 14, 2010 Kandice rated it liked it
I picked this up based solely on the blurb on the cover: "Think James Clavell meets Raymond Chandler." It turned out to be accurate, but also made my expectations too high for what this book turned out to be. I absolutely adore Clavell, and Joh Rowland goes so far as to use many, many of the same character names he uses in Shogun. As soon as those loved and familiar names showed up I expected the depth and breadth of Shogun. Alas, this was more along the lines of a Christie or Stanley Gardner wh ...more
Dec 01, 2013 John rated it it was ok
The entourage accompanying the shogun's mother on a spiritual retreat have either been slaughtered or kidnapped by unidentified Dragon King. One of those who was kidnapped was Reiko, the beautiful wife of the Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations, and People, Sano Ichiro. The shogun has received demands for the release of his mother, which includes the execution of the Police Commissioner Hoshina, a political rival of Sano. The mercurial shogun is eager to comply with the kidnapper's ...more
Lizzie - Barista in training.
Need to read this again, was a long time since I last read it but I enjoyed it.
Clifford Terry
Nov 11, 2015 Clifford Terry rated it did not like it
I really enjoyed the books in this series until this one. Some were definitely better the others but this one was so bad that it seemed like it was written by someone else. Besides the plot being rather weak, all the well crafted characters that I had grown to appreciate in the earlier books had changed and began acting like stupid, irrational morons, instead of the usual clever, insightful characters that I remember. It makes me hesitate to read the next one and experience further disappointmen ...more
A solid entry in the Sano Ichiro series. It doesn't dissappoint, but neither does it exceed expectations. The characters and setting are fantastic, but the plotting and prose often leave something to be desired. Still, if you have any sort of interest in Japanese culture, any book in this series is well worth reading.
Christine Jones
Sep 15, 2016 Christine Jones rated it liked it
It has been a while since I have read anything in the Sano series. This book, #8 in the series, gave me a gentle reminder of why I enjoyed the series and the writing of Laura Joh Rowland. This is not my favorite book in the series or even the best written of them. However, it is exciting, the plot moves pretty fast, the background research and historical aspects of feudal Japan are all close to factually accurate or at least enough so to enjoy the series without a strain on suspending disbelief. ...more
This is part of Rowland's Sano Ichiro Mystery series. The novel takes place in the late 1600s in Feudal Japan. The shogun's mother decides to take a trip to Mount Fuji and invites three women to be her traveling companions. The women are Reiko, the wife of Sano Ichiro - the shogun's Most Honorable Investigator; Reiko's friend Midori, the wife of Sano Ichiro's chief retainer; and Lady Yanagisawa, the wife of the shogan's Chamberlain. The three women are reluctant to accompany the shogun's mother, ...more
Aug 28, 2015 grundoon rated it really liked it
My favorite installment so far, I think. In which there's still tons of competitive plotting, but thankfully it's not the focus itself and we get a varied, action-filled story with all the trademark elements in great balance. The candor I've always appreciated has reached a high - we've established that sex is as natural and common a function as pooping, so might as well start addressing that pre-plumbing issue too, and turn the sex up to uncomfortably graphic - and the stratification of feudal ...more
Kevin Vrieze
Jan 05, 2016 Kevin Vrieze rated it it was amazing
Interesting book in the series. clearly designed to set up some transitions in later books. Sano and Hirata characters develop in interesting ways. The demotion of Yanigasawa is a bit of a shock. Really more a focus on Reiko, Hirata, and other characters than on Sano and the "main" actors. Very smoothly written. A fast read as books in this series go. in this one the prologue feeds directly into the story in ways earlier introductions did not.
Jul 18, 2013 Thomas rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up in a thrift store and was unaware that it was part of a series. After putting off reading it for about a month, I finally picked it up and read it in about two days...STRAIT. Since I was reading out of order, I had no knowledge of Sano and his journey to becoming the Sosokan-sama.

Even without prior knowledge, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and couldnt put it down. The setting of seventeenth century Japan has always intriqued me, and I loved learning more about it. The myste
Apr 23, 2011 Cy rated it really liked it
A definite improvement over Pillow Book. Sano's wife, as well as the Shogun's mother, and Hirata and Yanagisawa's wives are kidnapped by someone identified only as "the Dragon King". The Shogun's desperation to rescue his mother forces Sano and Yanagisawa to work together if only to save their own skins, and because of the Dragon King's machinations, Yanagisawa is forced to break his alliance with Hoshina.

Again, the mystery seems like the backstory despite being the main focus of the novel, but
Aug 16, 2014 Lynn rated it it was amazing
At first I had a hard time reading about a kidnapping, because that is one of my base fears, but when I read this, I really appreciated the motives, the research, the investigation, etc. All very detailed, heroic (like all the Sano Ichiro books) and full of political intrigue. I loved this book. On to the next one!
Jan 12, 2016 Alyssa marked it as meant-to-read-but-didnt
Read earlier book(s?) in this series when I was in high school, and picked this one up from super-sale area at B&N, thinking I would get to it one day. Never finished out the series, though. I wonder what I would think about them now...
Dec 23, 2014 Brenda rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
After taking much time to describe the complicated relationships between the primary people in the story, the author closes the story with much action, death, and intrigue. Still a good read.
Tiffany Rupp
Mar 19, 2016 Tiffany Rupp rated it really liked it
Japanese history with a dash of suspense and romance. Even if you find some parts disagreeable it really is worth it to keep going. The action scenes are well written and easy to follow.
Oct 02, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
Readin' out of order
Readin' out of order
Still holds up if you like crimefightin' and swords an' shit
Readin' out of order!
Mar 15, 2013 Lollyletsgo rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Judith Reed
Nov 19, 2015 Judith Reed rated it liked it
Not quite as exciting as some of the earlier books. Large print would help the reading.
This is one in a series of historical mysteries set in Shogunate Japan. These books are not really THAT good but I feel compelled to finish reading all of them now that I started. The characters spend more time with court intrigue than they do asking suspects the right questions, making these book rather feeble mysteries.

This one is particularly frustrating as the crime touches on all the main characters and they all fly off to pursue their own agendas.
Aug 08, 2009 Mike rated it liked it
Although I read this book first (and wildly out-of-sequence) I did not have too much trouble getting into the story. But, the series does seem to refer back to prior events more than some others I have read.

The main characters are interesting as is the setting and era. I intend to read more of these books, but cannot say when.
Aug 25, 2011 Katharina rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-liked, crime
This was another great book of the Sano-series. I really enjoyed reading it.

Lady Yanagisawa is a little annoying, but she fit into the story... and sometimes I wanted to glare at Midori because she is so utterly oblivious to her surroundings... but Sano, Reikoe, Yanagisawa and Hoshina provided a great storyline.
It's still my fluff / guilty pleasure series, but Iiked this more than the last several in the series - would give it 3.5 stars if I could.

What worked in this story: interplay between Reiko & Lady Yanigasawa, much larger role for Reiko in the story, and having Sano & Yanigasawa forced into an alliance.

Nov 20, 2009 Robyn rated it liked it
I always love reading Laura Joh Rowland, and this book was no exception. It was a quick read with great action and more attention to Reiko, who I think is becoming my favorite character in this series. It was just a tad too sentimental for me, keeping it from earning more stars.
Dec 21, 2010 Bea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot. It introduced me to a time and country that I know little about. I found myself very involved and kept reading to be sure all would work out. There are many twists and turns in this plot which resembles a snake coiled ready to strike. A very good read!
Aug 14, 2013 K rated it really liked it
The only thing preventing my rating this a five-star was the last portion of the book. Too much time spent on Reiko, her misgivings, fears, etc. otherwise, great plot lines and tension in the story-- what I've come to expect and enjoy about Rowland's writing.
Aug 10, 2008 Reba rated it really liked it
I have read quite a few of this series and it is getting to be a little repetitive. Sano has a mystery to solve politics somehow get in the way his wife does something stupid but helps solve the case.
Serge Pierro
Aug 19, 2012 Serge Pierro rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
One of the better books of the series. Ichiro is forced to work with his arch nemesis, and the series starts to become more complex in terms of the relationships between all the characters.
Mar 24, 2009 Steven rated it really liked it
Feudal Japanese detective Sano solves another case while dealing with political intrigue. This series by Lauro Joh Rowland is great. Who would have thought--Columbo with swords.
Jul 10, 2008 Lindsay rated it it was ok
I wasn't too impressed with this book. Some of the details seemed very random, the characters were pretty shallow and the baddie too insane to really identify with.
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Granddaughter of Chinese and Korean immigrants, Laura Joh Rowland grew up in Michigan and where she graduated with a B.S. in microbiology and a Master of Public Health at the University of Michigan. She currently lives in New Orleans with her husband. She has worked as a chemist, microbiologist, sanitary inspector and quality engineer.
More about Laura Joh Rowland...

Other Books in the Series

Sano Ichiro (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • Shinju (Sano Ichiro, #1)
  • Bundori (Sano Ichiro, #2)
  • The Way of the Traitor  (Sano Ichiro, #3)
  • The Concubine's Tattoo (Sano Ichiro, #4)
  • The Samurai's Wife (Sano Ichiro, #5)
  • Black Lotus (Sano Ichiro, #6)
  • The Pillow Book of Lady Wisteria (Sano Ichiro, #7)
  • The Perfumed Sleeve (Sano Ichiro, #9)
  • The Assassin's Touch (Sano Ichiro, #10)
  • Red Chrysanthemum (Sano Ichiro, #11)

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